Surface, Unsurfaced investigates how the material surface of ceramics intersects with the sensibility of human emotion. Consciously or not, surfaces are encountered everywhere. We participate in and gather the unique experiences of touching, feeling, and connecting with objects regardless of their inherent tendencies to play a common or infrequent role within everyday life.
It is a continuous aim within Surface, Unsurfaced to explore how ceramic material, in this case, manipulated into various three-dimensional forms, has the potential to have not only surface, but also be surface. The most iconical interpretation of a surface is when it describes the superficial layer of texture or form. As straightforward as that may sound, it lacks acknowledgment that the three-dimensional object is a surface, especially when the material of that surface continues underneath what is visible to the eye. This continuation of the surface is not visually accessible unless it is either physically broken apart or artificially simulated through the craft of hand.
An example of how an object is a surface is a marshmallow that has been placed over a fire and toasted to a golden brown. You can’t see it, but underneath the rough and bubbly layer of skin, there is more marshmallow. The only way to observe this is to pull it apart and watch it stretch between your hands. The surface may have a drastic appearance from the original you took out of the bag, but in the end, it is still the same. Part and Parcel works in a similar way as the rough and jagged black texture is not only the outermost visible surface but also the material that it is made from. Another is Poached, where the elevation of the orange shell transitions from a thick coating, to thin dispersed drips. The consistent cracking reveals a subtle shift from the orange material being its own three-dimensional form, as well as becoming another object’s surface.
My underlying motivation for this work is to convey an emotional response from the tension built between the visual attraction the pieces omit and their desire for physical touch. I crave the mutability that is present within the medium of ceramics, so creating objects of textural polarity that appeal to the eye without succumbing to a physical response is intriguing. Observing and investigating with a delicate and sensible touch is a vital component to understanding what is seen. The exclusion of touch forces one to not only compensate for the vital sensory process of feeling with sight but to also acknowledge a disorienting experience. Without the tactile response that our hands provide, the opportunity to fully communicate with objects, ourselves, and those around us is lost. Still, Surface, Unsurfaced falls short as it relies on an audience that is strictly limited to observing through sight. I invite the viewer to experience an atmosphere of dissonance, a push and pull effect that intersects mystery and interest, and the desire to relieve an internal conflict.